Party-list prods Comelec to exempt PUV fuel subsidy from spending ban

Published April 6, 2022, 10:12 AM

by Ellson Quismorio

PASAHERO Party-list is urging the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to “promptly and favorably” act on the request of the Land Transportation and Franchising Regulatory Board (LTFRB) to exempt the distribution public utility vehicle (PUV) drivers’ fuel subsidy from the election public spending ban.

(File photos/ MANILA BULLETIN)

In a letter to Comelec Chairman Saidamen Pangarungan dated April 5, 2022, PASAHERO Party-list said the exemption would pave the way for the resumption of release of the much-needed cash subsidy to qualified beneficiaries in the public transportation sector.

“We humbly write on behalf of the thousands of bus, jeepney, tricycle and PUV drivers all over the country who are still reeling from the effects of the almost two-year lockdown and now pounded by the spiraling fuel prices resulting from the ongoing war in Ukraine,” party-list founders Allan Yap and Robert Nazal said in the letter.

According to reports, the LTFRB has temporarily halted the release of the P6,500 fuel subsidy per beneficiary as a result of the election public spending ban, which took effect last March 25. The local and national elections will leave place on May 9.

As of April 5, only about 110,200 out of the over 377,000 beneficiaries have received their fuel subsidy or “ayuda”.

The LTFRB has applied for exemption from such ban prior to March 25 and is still awaiting Comelec’s action on the matter.

“PASAHERO wholeheartedly supports the LTFRB’s application for exemption from the above-mentioned election public spending ban,” the party-list said.

The group noted that these qualified drivers were “among those at the frontline in providing transportation to our commuters at the height of the pandemic and, in spite of the increased fuel prices, now continue to serve our pasaheros all over the country”.

“Thus, every day that the fuel subsidy is not released to the qualified drivers who rely on the government to grant this laudable palliative measure is an injustice we ought to spare them,” it pointed out.

PASAHERO, also known as the Passengers and Riders Organization Inc., said that the government can do is to promptly resume the release of the fuel subsidies to these qualified drivers.